At WWE Payback, Chris Jericho defeated Kevin Owens in a United States Championship match. A stipulation of the match was that if Chris Jericho won, he would go to SmackDown Live. But what happens to Kevin Owens?
Some fans left the match with the impression that the stipulation was that the winner, whoever it was, would go to SmackDown Live, and the loser would stay on Raw.
This is not the case. On WWE programming last week, it was stated that if Chris Jericho won, he would be joining Kevin Owens on SmackDown Live; the implication was that Owens would not be going anywhere no matter what.
Because Chris Jericho won, after tonight, both Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens are a part of the SmackDown Live roster.
When the WWE first began promoting this match, they made it sound like the winner would go to SmackDown and the loser would stay on Raw, but the company starting using different language in recent days. For instance, the WWE.com preview of the match said, “If Chris Jericho overcomes his one-time friend, he will not only win the title, but will also become part of the SmackDown LIVE roster.” No mention was made of the fact that Owens may go to SmackDown.
And in a tweet promoting the match, the language was even more clear; here, it was said that Jericho would win, he would join Kevin Owens on SmackDown Live. Obviously, the word “join” suggests that Owens is remaining where he is.
It’s still possible that the WWE could change their minds about this or that the language they’ve used to promote this pay-per-view has been unclear and Owens really is going back to Raw. But for now, it sounds like Jericho and Owens are both members of Team Blue. And after all, Owens was traded to SmackDown – it wasn’t the U.S. championship that was traded – so it would make sense for him to stay where he is regardless of the outcome of this match.
The result of this match was quite shocking in general, as Chris Jericho is expected to go on a hiatus with his band throughout the months of May and June. He even has a tour date with his band scheduled for the night of Backlash, the upcoming SmackDown Live exclusive pay-per-view. For that reason, a lot of fans are of the opinion that Jericho will drop the title this week on SmackDown Live, either to AJ Styles or Kevin Owens.